I don’t remember when or why being pro-life became such a big part of who I am and what I stand for. I remember doing a report on it in college, so perhaps it was then that my interest and passion in the topic began to take root, though at the time, it stirred up more anger and frustration than compassion, and I didn’t know what to do with those feelings. I had a hard time communicating my thoughts about it, because I couldn’t seem to do it without getting heated or overwhelmed. At this stage in my life (around 14 years ago), I’d say my stance could better be defined as “anti-abortion” rather than pro-life, and it’s taken years of growth and softening to get to a very different place in my beliefs.
My senior year of college I interned at a pregnancy resource center in San Diego, one that provided free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and counseling to women facing unplanned or crisis pregnancies. It was during my counselor training here that I really took hold of the concept that our only job was to “speak the truth in love” to everyone who walked through the door. We wanted to educate them on what was happening in their bodies and with their baby, inform them of their options and the possible outcomes of each one, and provide resources and next steps, all while being loving and grace-filled and always rooting for the best for their lives and their babies’.
Several years later, in my mid-20’s, my Mom sat me down and told me a story she had kept hidden for a long time, that she herself had had an abortion when she was young and unmarried and scared, and the lifelong heartbreaking effect this is had on her life and her relationships. Mostly the shame she carried with her even though she knew she had God’s forgiveness and grace. It took years and years to fully accept that and let it sink deep into who she was. And she longed for other women to not have to experience what she did. We both cried together, especially when she said it felt redemptive to her to see this topic be something that took root in my heart, before knowing anything about her story. Adding a very personal face to this belief I held continued to soften my heart even more and add so much compassion and empathy for the women who have been through this or have had to face this difficult decision.
Fast-forward to today. This passion was something that had taken a back-burner in my heart, with life and other dreams filling in the remaining spaces. I knew it was always something I wanted to fight for, but again felt helpless as to where to start. The debate of pro-life vs. pro-choice will probably always feel incredibly divisive since it is one that is filled with deep-seated emotions and political and religious beliefs. But I’ve started understanding and accepting that it is not a simple or straightforward issue that can be blanketed by a “good” or “bad” label, or “right” or “wrong,” but instead I can choose to stand for life in every way possible and help demonstrate the beauty and light that lies in valuing every human life, no matter the age, race, religion, disability, or status.
For me personally, I felt convicted to not just stand against abortion, but to put into practice the belief I held to value every life, and support all those who are choosing life for their baby and the community that’s around them. I had heard about YoungLives once before, but when it popped up on my Instagram feed from a friend who supports them, I felt God nudging at my heart that this was a tangible way I could join in and participate in the mission to support all those who are making the beautiful – and sometimes incredibly difficult – decision of life for their baby. So I reached out and volunteered to be a part of YoungLives Santa Ana, and I have loved meeting these young women and their boyfriends and their precious babies that they bring every month, and love hearing the stories of the relationships and friendships that have been forged in this club. It is a beautiful picture of all being in this life together and the idea that there is no such thing as other peoples’ children. We all get to play a part in supporting life, and in lightening the load for those whose path feels more difficult at times. I am so grateful this ministry exists, and I can’t wait to watch this community continue to grow in love.